Social Movements by the Government

by Naoko Yoshida

As we learned in the class, social movements are the effective methods to change the society. And almost always, those social movements are started by people in lower position against the authority such as the government. For example, people in Fukushima have been taking action in order to stop the use of nuclear power plants in Japan against Japanese government, and in the US, many labor movements are launched by workers against people in high positions. However, there are another kind of social movements which are intended by the government to make people start. I have two examples here. One of them is China, and the other is Korea. Chinese government and Korean government intended to have social movements inside their country for the same reason. That reason is to distract their citizens’ attention from the problems inside the country.

Firstly, Chinese people had a huge social movement against Japan. And that movement is still remaining a little bit. This social movement is started by Chinese people in order to be against the Japanese possession of Senkaku-islets. But this movement is not simply because Japan claimed their ownership of those islets but because of many complex causes. One of those causes is Chinese government’s anxiety of antigovernment movement. We can say there are many problems inside China such as a huge gap between social classes, and slowdown economy. In addition, they were facing a once-a-decade transition of political leader on that time. Therefore, Chinese government made people act against foreign enemy by using mass media in order that Chinese people do not notice the problems inside China, and enhance nationalism for upcoming election. In short, Chinese government made people start social movement against foreign enemy in order to discard people’s attention from problems inside the country and to enhance the nationalization.

Secondly, in Korea, there has been a movement about Take-shima/Dokdo against Japan. Korean government also made people act against Japan in order to enhance nationalism, and distract their presidents corruption because they also have an election.

In conclusion, although many social movements are started by people in lower class against people in higher class or authority in order to make their living better, there are also social movements which are planned by the government in order to discard their citizens’ attention from the problems inside the country and to enhance the nationalism. We should not be deceived by that movement by the government.


Beech, H.(2012/10).The madding crowd: Beijing inflames popular sentiment against Japan, but it could get burned.Time, 50.

Yokota, T. (2012/9). You say Dokdo, I say Takeshima… let’s call the whole thing off. Newsweek, 16-17.


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